Author: Wang Kui (Researcher of China National Academy of Arts, President of Chinese Opera Society)
At the end of the tea-picking drama “Long March of One” in southern Gansu, the protagonist Mule wiped away his tears, put on the military cap left by the platoon leader Qiu, and hummed the new words filled in the old song in the tea-picking drama “Sister Sister”, firmly The Red Army team walking towards the front. The playwright Sheng Heyu has a hint here in the script: “Suddenly, his soft humming turned into a passionate and shocking symphony! The red flag was fluttering, the sun was shining, and there seemed to be thousands of mules, Qiu Mingliang, Huagu, Gu Under the guidance of the red flag, Yu Jie ran forward.” The attribution of “thousands of people” echoes the “one person” designated by the title of the play, showing the literary imagination space the play wants to convey. The director Zhang Manjun used a mule to walk towards the group image of the Red Army, and magnificently shaped the cultural image of the people following the Red Army into the revolution during the Revolutionary War on the stage, and completed the artistic creation from literature to the stage.
Stills of “One Man’s Long March” Photo by Hou Lepei/Guangming Pictures
The transformation from “one person” to “tens of thousands”, from a love tune of “Sister Sister” to the sublimation of the revolutionary new word “symphony”, is an expansion from artistic typicality to historical reality. Through an ordinary individual like a mule, through his approach to the Red Army, walking into the Red Army, understanding the Red Army, and following the Red Army in the chaotic war situation, the play extends the “mule” shaped by art into a “mule” that witnesses and participates in the process of China’s revolution. “People” group, this is an important innovation to the red theme using the aesthetic ideal of combining realism and romanticism.
In the long-term creation of modern operas, there is no lack of writing about the “people”. Through different social groups and specific “people” individuals, they show their thoughts, concepts and emotions, and express the people’s deep dependence on the times, heroes, the country and the party. relation. The creation of such operas adheres to more realistic creative methods, publicizes revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture with serious historical authenticity, and forms a narrative form of opera with unique characteristics of the times relying on a century of Chinese development history. Revolutionary themes have expanded into diverse, rich and more mature artistic forms and contents in terms of ideological expression, theme selection, image shaping, style and aesthetics, and thus organically become an important part of historical themes.
The tea-picking drama “One Man’s Long March” in southern Gansu takes the opportunity to locate the narrative subject on the ordinary person, Mule, and fold the grand “Long March” narrative to the public. Mule is not a Red Army or a Party member. In the process of creating the “Long March” national revolutionary epic, he was just an unconscious outsider among the masses. The reason why he was involved in the Long March was just because his mule was carrying salt for the Red Army in the Soviet area. He just wanted to get back his “wage”, but in the face of Boss You’s deception and the framed accusation of Wang Huobiao, the captain of the township alliance defense, As well as the threat to life brought by the powerful external forces such as the Hunan Army, the Guangdong Army, and the Guizhou Army that appeared in his life, he gradually saw the bizarreness of living in the world from his personal ideal of life, and also used his simple and simple life style. life standpoint to distinguish the groups that have assembled around him.
The mule is a typical “one tendon”. At first glance, it seems that “there is something wrong with the brain.” He could have taken his mule away according to the solution proposed by the second chief of the Red Army, and at the same time, he took twenty yuan to go home. But the first thing he thought was “No, so you won’t lose a lot of money”, so he took the initiative to “pull a live au pair”, and promised to hand over the tin box of the transport team to the No. 2 chief in person. His honest and promise-keeping attitude comes from the environment in which he has survived from generation to generation, from the moral conduct he has followed from generation to generation, and from the tolerance, understanding and faith shown by the No. 2 chief and the Red Army after he was deceived. It is on the basis of this shared cultural tradition that the mule has always adhered to the promises he made with the No. 2 chief and with the Red Army when he went through all kinds of hardships. Platoon Commander Qiu, who guarded him, sincerely said, “I just don’t understand, how can there be a Red Army in this world, with people like you.” Live and die together, weal and woe go hand in hand, and emotionally say, “I want to be a person like you, fight and live like you”.
The subtlety of the play is that, except for the “one person” of platoon leader Qiu, there is basically no too much laying out of the Red Army, but the communication between mules and the daily groups around them shows the normality of secular life in a special era. Miss Gu’s “one person” full of poetic ideals and revolutionary aspirations, Hua Gu’s “one person” with peasants’ simple morality and beautiful humanity, and even this “one person” full of greed and cruelty, Wang Huobiao, are all extremely The figurative abstraction of individuals shows the attributes of the social group they depend on. It is in the advancement of the relationship between individual images that the play fully discerns the justice of the unique team of the “Red Army” through the eyes and mind of the mule; through his walking and following, he understands the belief and sacrifice in the revolution. , to understand the inspirational power of the great spirit; through his integrity and persistence, he expresses the sublimation and firmness of the spirit of the “people” after the baptism of suffering.
Such “one person”‘s identification and recognition of the “Long March” embodies the ideological choices of the most groups in the modern Chinese revolution, highly condenses the image connotation of “the people”, and also presents the “Long March” as the culture of the people’s epic base color.
“Guangming Daily” (May 25, 2022, 16th edition)